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TYGERS PROWLING 40 YEARS, COME OUT OF THE WOODS WITH GOOD-TIME MUSIC FOR DEPRESSED TIMES!
Last Updated on Monday, 5 July 2010 07:54
Written by morristown@scotticd.com
Monday, 5 July 2010 07:51

Tony Dancy (l), Craig Fairchild (c) and Lanny Hale (r) are the Tygers in human form.

Tony Dancy (l), Craig Fairchild (c) and Lanny Hale (r) are the Tygers in human form.

In my course of searching for that ever-elusive new music, sometimes you come across something unique, different, and if you’re lucky, sometimes you come across something with a gimmick to latch onto.

Never mind two!

Tygers Gimmick #1: Revisionism.  You see, the Tygers first album came out in the ‘60’s.  Us geezers know music was much different then.  So much that to get myself into a most receptive mindset, I am listening to Todd Rundgren’s Nazz I (I am not getting into that Nazz, Nazz Nazz, Nazz Nazz Nazz trap) from 67-68-ish.  But what The Tygers are all about is taking us back to a time when music was not necessarily better, just that it had developed varying degrees of meaningfulness to us all, happy, peaceful, free-love, and as Bill Murray said in “Caddyshack”, “stoned to the bejesus belt!”

Tygers Gimmick #2: Doing something that not only takes guts, but is something I would kill to do with my old group The Goodz (East Coast), that being revisit the band’s original style of music with modern day technological and instrumental technology.  This “’60’s”-style music was mastered at Gary Tanin’s GT Labs, so you are guaranteed that this will sound sweet!  Tygers are older, wiser Tygers I imagine, the liner notes (which feature commentary by a DJ familiar with the first Tygers go-‘round, Bob Barry) have photos of the Tygers then and now.  They felt the times were finally right for them to come out with their Second Album.

So why didn’t we hear about the Tygers first album?

You see, this band is from Milwaukee.  Wisconsin in the ‘60’s, eh?  No one would have thought to search the Midwest (much less the upper Midwest) for music when surf invaded from the West and the British invaded from the East, Beatles leading the charge and all.

These guys never stood a chance.

It’s a shame really, as these guys are skilled pop craftsmen.  These craftsmen are Tony Dancy on vocals, guitars, keyboards; Craig Fairchild on vocals, piano and B3; and Lanny Hale on vocals and guitar with several guests such as Mike Murphy, Tom Malta, Joe Turano, Kenny Kroll and Jason Goldsmith.

Second Album kicks off with “How Long Does It Take” which, while briefly starting off VERY country, it mellows to a more Crosby, Stills and Nash sound.  It remains within that realm right through the second chorus into a very nice, unexpected break!  Vocals are the order of the day on this track.  Lush harmonies, even into the minor-sounding bridge to the pedal steel solo.

That solo is Nashville meets CSN.

After a chorus, that minor-tinged bridge is cut in half to a modulated end chorus.  Yeah, I know, predicable arrangements, 4/4 time signatures, hardly my usual critical fare.

Did any of you think that with all the complicated music I usually listen to, that maybe some good old three-minute pop songs might be refreshing for a change?

“Voo Doo” puts every Creedence Clearwater Revival song into one, only this one sounds better and the singers are better.  A clever arrangement within the verse/chorus really carries the song.  But a striking break filled with a bouquet of vocals.  Damn!  The subject matter, if my interpretation is correct (I wouldn’t bet on it being so) could be about temptation.  Then another vocal bouquet singing “Jungle drums, pounding in the night” just stinks of Brian Wilson.

Some interesting modulations before the horns and lead guitar come in.  As I eluded, Tygers are trying to be all the old bands you love with a modern spin.  Right up to the jungle drum and vocal outtro with sax.  Haunting!

The humerous, almost poking fun at today’s banking crisis, “Scottsdale Blues” has a very lonely, chorused guitar with an equally lonely vocal remorse about financiers not getting their ridiculous riches, only getting their riches.  “Can’t afford a Bentley, Mercedes will have to do…”

While we all drive cars from the early nineties whose gas pedals won’t run away on us.  See!  Simpler times!!!

When everything kicks in, there are many bands that could be referenced as far as the music.  Regardless of the possible comparisons, the lyrics are a riot!  I love humor in music.

A nice firey solo.  I love the upper register on the vocal at the end of the third verse.  The guitar callbacks are hot, but I keep laughing at the lyrics.  Tasty distorted guitar line before the chorus fade.

For a bunch of guys from Milwaukee, they got the East Coast Jersey Shore sound down on “Girl Like You”, right down to the 16th note piano chord and the up and down bass walk!  Reeks of it.  Takes me back to my childhood summers at Point Pleasant beach NJ.

Gonna need more therapy…

The horn stabs at the chorus just reinforce the point.  So throw in a Steve Cropper guitar solo and a Paul Shaffer organ run, and this is a done deal.  But a cleaner sound than the Sun Studios sound of the ‘60’s.  Digital vs. Analog.

Catchy lyrics and hooks.  Oh man!  They roll out a Jersey Shore-style sax solo.  And of course, TONS of harmonies.  I’ll tell you folks, these guys have it.  Tongue-in-cheek, right to the harmony-filled background vocals that stop only for the last word at the end!

Twists and turns, people!

I figured they would broach this territory; they get all Beatley on “You Know Where To Reach Me”.  Sorry but I hear Beatles’ “And I Love Her” ALL OVER this track.  Slightly bossa nova, but the vocals MAKE you take it seriously, what the vocals have to say MAKE you listen.

Right down to the swing-style under the solo.  But after that solo, the arrangement sprouts big time.  I’d like to dedicate “You Know Where To Reach Me” to every girl I’ve ever known or heard about that has said “I really like you …as a friend…”

A contemporary bass sound kicks off the-expectation-laden-from-the-title “Night Walker”.  Yup, you supposed right.  So now that we know what the lyrics are about, I would have to say that it might rival “Love Potion #9” (Google it if you were born after 1975), but I’d rather think of it as the true Tyger sound coming out.  If it is, they should focus on this, it grooves!!  A sophisticated chord sequence, catchy breaks, this could be a hit if not for the lyrical content.  Cute with the sound of high heels walking at the end…

“Just Enough Time” resembles many inspirational songs.  An accordion-filled bridge builds the arrangement.  A more contemporary reference could be the Alan Parsons Project except for that accordion.  Another cutesy ending.

Well if there’s “Just Enough Time”, then it would make sense that the next song would be “Never Too Late”, wouldn’t it?  “Never Too Late” finds the Tygers mutating country, bluegrass and honkey-tonk into one “get-off-your-duff-and-do-it” attitude anthem.  Delightful honkey-tonk piano solo into more CSN-style background vocals.

Even a hokey clarinet solo, LOVE IT!

Singing about a hit record at 58.  Too close to where I live…

WOW!  “Step By Step” starts off so pretty.  Featuring the eternal optimist behind the mic.  This is yet another one of their musical tracks that could have been inspired by any number of the Tygers collective musical influences.

I wouldn’t want to be the one charged with the ominous task of counting those collective influences!

One of the Tygers really sounds eerily like the late Eric Woolfson from the Alan Parson’s Project on this track.  Especially on the chorus lead vocal.  Regardless of the outcome, our protagonist ventures onward to the tremolo guitar end.

I feel bad.

Pink noise and Mexicali trumpet aptly start “Maya”.  A so-close-to-Paul McCartney-vocal, even when the lead vocal changes languages to Spanish.  That more-or-less reinforces the Hispanic setting that the music so expertly portrays.

In Milwaukee?

A twelve-string guitar interlude further crushes your heart, until an off-beat drum break brings us back to Beatleland.  All this grandeur levels off to a bare-bones outtro dedicating love to “Maya”.

This ends the Tygers Second Album.  With a disc length of thirty-four minutes and twenty-seven seconds, if this were a prog rock album, I’d have to complain about the length of the disc.  Yet, while I would love more Tygers, I still find myself satiated.

This pleasant surprise trip down memory lane is the perfect thing for when you have one of those days when you are constantly reminded that it’s 2010 and your life is soooooo much more difficult.

I know you probably won’t find it on the shelves of your local indie store.  If you are lucky enough to have an indie store that carries LPs, used most likely, the challenge I have for you is, when you go to pick up your ordered copy of Second Album, take some time and try to find the Tygers first album!

Especially you folks from the Midwest, I know you are out there.

If you don’t like it after you buy it, (the first album) leave a comment after this blog and I will be in contact with you to buy it from you.  Consider it a guarantee for those of you over 35.

© 2010 Coming Age and this website.



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